Everybody has some stress in this life. It could be work related, family struggles, health issues, gas prices too high, bank account too low, or numerous other concerns. The question is not do you have any stress. The question is what do you do about it? How do you keep stress from wearing you out? How do you keep it from causing you to sin?
There are a number of bad options when it comes to handling stress. Some choose to ignore it in the hope that it will just go away. That would be nice but it’s not likely that the stress will just disappear.
Some become bitter because of the stress, resent it, and worry about it even more. Some people feel guilty because of stress, and it causes them to become ashamed.
Others have a pity party and attempt to hide from the world. Then there are those who overreact to another extreme and try to control everything as well as everyone around them. None of these options will work in the long run. There are some better options than any of these mentioned above.
Turn Your Stress Over to the Lord
In Psalm 46:10, our Father says, “Be still and know that I am God.” One translation of this verse says, “Let go and know that I am God; I rule the nations, I rule the earth.” There are two thoughts in this powerful verse. 1.) Let Go. God says there are times we just need to calm down and turn everything over to Him. 2.) Know. We must remember that our Father is God, and we are not.
Through the words of Peter, the Holy Spirit also tells us, “Cast all your cares on Him, for He cares for you,” (1 Peter 5:7). Notice that it is ALL our cares that we are to give to God. Again, let go (“cast all your cares”), and know (“He cares for you”).
Develop an Inner Peace by Learning to Be Content
If any man had had the right to be stressed out, it would have been Paul. He was in prison when he penned the words, “…I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am,” (Philippians 4:11).
Paul did not say this inner peace was a gift from God or that it came to him automatically. We are not born with feelings of contentment. Paul said he had to learn contentment. It is a mark of maturity.
There are times when the difficulties we endure in life will build contentment and patience. No wonder James said, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance,” (James 1:2-3).
Live with the Realization That Not Every Plan Will Work Out
One cause of stress is when our dreams are dashed, when things don’t work out the way we think they should, or when we feel we don’t have hope. We all have plans, but we also have problems.
We have an enemy who is out to get us. Satan does not want us to succeed. Our adversary is prowling around like a roaring lion, “seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). He will use what ever schemes (Ephesians 6:11) he can to defeat us.
Another problem is that we live in an imperfect world. Since sin entered the world that has always been problems. The world is broken and filled with sin. Because of that we can’t control everything that happens. Many times life on this planet just isn’t fair. We will better be able to survive when we realize this truth.
Oh, and just a few other quick thoughts. When you feel stressed out, spend more time in prayer, talk to someone you trust, and laugh more! And remember these scriptures: Romans 8:28, 31; 2 Corinthians 4:17.
Dear Father, because we live in a broken world, there are many stressful times in our lives. Help us, dear God, to cast all our cares one You, help us do everything possible to defeat our enemy, and help us to recognize that not everything will work out in the ways we would like. Father, help us to show the world and one another what it means to live with the strength of our Savior. In Jesus’ Name we pray, amen!